Cup-side Down

I am SO excited about this game. I saw a video of a youth group playing with solo cups this way and thought… “We need a classroom adaptation!”

First you need a set of solo cups. You will need as many colors as you have teams. In a class of 28, I would make four groups of 7. There are going to be a lot of cups!

To play, you’ll also need a set of 10-12 comprehension questions. This can be about any topic or any text. Each group will need a white board and marker for their answers as well.

Next, assign each team a color of cup and a direction: up or down. So for this example, team green will be up and team blue will be down. Each team will receive 10 cups to start.

Students will spread their cups around the floor of your room facing the correct direction. If you have four teams, two will be up and two will be down.

Ask your first comprehension question. Students will record the answer on their white board. Ask the teams to reveal their answers. Each team that is correct receives one extra cup. Students can place this cup and then, set a timer for 30 seconds. During this 30 second period, teams will compete to turn each other’s cups the wrong direction. Rule 1: No touching people on the other team, only cups. Rule 2: Any team that is rowdy will lose a turn on the next round. Rule 3: Any cup on its side does not count!

In each 30 second round, students will not only be turning the other teams’ cups the wrong way, they’ll need to make sure they’re turning their own cups back the right direction! It will be a few seconds of chaos.

When the timer sounds, groups are seated and they answer another questions. Any team who is correct gets another cup. As in round one, they’ll place their cup facing the right direction and then, when the timer begins, they’ll race to flip cups again.

Continue until you’re low on questions or time. In the final round, allow them a full minute to flip cups. When the timer sounds, add up the score by counting only the cups that are facing the right direction.

I hope you enjoy playing!!


  1. Hi Carrie. Thanks so much for sharing this idea! I tried it out in my classes yesterday. The students had fun but found a loophole — what do you do with cups that end up sideways? I found that if I said that those cups counted as one way or the other, then the team that benefitted started taking advantage of that by just sweeping cups sideways without making the effort to place them up or down. Did you run into this issue at all?

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